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What is Skin Cycling? The New Trend That Promises to Give You "Instagram Filter" Skin

It's simple and effective!
What is Skin Cycling? The New Trend That Promises to Give You "Instagram Filter" Skin
IMAGE Pexels, Brands
It's simple and effective!

Listen up skincare junkies: A new trend has been flooding TikTok, and this one actually works! Introducing “skin cycling,” a routine that relies on rotating products based on their active ingredients. This is very helpful especially if your skin has trouble dealing with harsh ingredients on a daily basis. 

Skin cycling was coined by New York-based board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe. In an interview she had with Self Magazine, she said that this started during the pandemic when people started focusing on achieving flawless skin with skincare rather than makeup.

And it’s true! Many of us started trying different kinds of skincare products, but we have to admit that not all of us knew how to properly work the products on our skin. Dr. Bowe said, “People were adding layer after layer after layer onto their skincare routines and experimenting with ingredient combinations that were irritating and damaging their skin.” For a better approach to skincare, Dr. Bowe introduced skin cycling as a better option to achieve an “Instagram filter skin,” and it’s easier than you think.

What is skin cycling?

Skin cycling revolves around exfoliation and retinol with rests in between to allow your skin to heal in just a span four days. According to Dr. Bowe, “Exfoliating serums and retinoids are powerful, highly effective products that I use in my skin care routine and recommend to my patients. However, they can be very irritating for many people if used too frequently.” She also explained that using too much on your skin can lead to tightness, dryness, and hyperpigmentation especially for individuals with darker skin tones. So if you have a morena complexion, skin cycling might just be your new skin savior! It’s actually pretty simple. You just need to have three skincare products on hand: a chemical exfoliant, retinol, and a gentle moisturizer. Here is how you do it!

How to Do Skin Cycling

First night: Use a chemical exfoliant.

To get you started, exfoliate your skin with a chemical exfoliant to get rid of the gunk in your pores and to slough away dead skin. Dr. Bowe highly suggests to look for an AHA/BHA product when doing this step. You can use The Ordinary’s 30% AHA + 2% BHA Peeling Solution which will help your skin feel clean and soft after just one use. Just set it on your face for a maximum of ten minutes before washing it off. Don’t forget to pamper your skin with moisturizer afterwards!

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AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, P780, THE ORDINARY, Zalora

Second night: Time for Retinol!

After cleansing on your second night, wait for your skin to fully dry before starting your routine. According to Dr. Bowe, applying retinol on damp skin may lead to irritation. Once you’re all set, proceed to apply a pea size retinol serum or cream which will help speed up your skin’s cell turnover to reveal a much radiant complexion. This wonder ingredient is a type of vitamin A which is known to treat acne and fade hyperpigmentation, scarring, and wrinkles. If you have sensitive skin, you can try the sandwich method (applying moisturizer before and after retinol) so that your skin won't get irritated. You can try Drunk Elephant's retinol cream which is composed of vegan retinol and superfood-rich ingredients that your skin will love.

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PHOTO BY brand

A-Passioni Retinol Cream 30ML RPK, P4650, DRUNK ELEPHANT, LOOK At Me

Third and fourth night: Slap on a gentle moisturizer.

Since your skin has been through work, it’s time to let your skin rest in the recovery stage. After washing your face, all you need to do is to apply moisturizer that does not include active ingredients. Look for a moisturizer that is fragrance-free, with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides so that your complexion won’t get irritated. We recommend Cerave's PM moisturizer for it's lightweight formula and rich hydrating properties. Unlike with retinol, Dr. Bowe suggests that you apply your moisturizer when your skin is still a bit damp for a better grip to the skin. 

PHOTO BY brand

PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion 89mL, P2000, CERAVE, Zalora

That’s it! Just repeat all the steps of your new skincare routine. If you want to hear all the hype on TikTok here is Dr. Bowe reacting to a video.

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